The future of the car

Last night, I saw what I would consider to be a very interesting documentary about the future of cars. A top-level executive of a world-leading car-manufacturing company was genuinely worried about the future of cars as preferred choice of transportation. Basically, the program stated that the car is fast becoming a dying dinosaur of the oil age.†

The younger generation that now grows up, doesn’t appear to have the same fascination with cars as previous generations, not necesarrily because of environmental concerns but more because of the cost issue. Cars are truly very expencive to first buy, to maintain and to keep in a safe condition for the roads - in addition to possible road-taxes, insurance, toll-ways, fuel-consumption, and their quickly degrading value over the years.†

Another leading Japanese car-maker somewhat unsuccessfully tried re-inventing their cars about 10-20 years ago by making car-models with surfboard racks and bicycle racks. They still didn’t appeal greatly to the young generation, and these models never sold sufficiently to the intended group. Also, a study shows that an astonishing 98% of all cars are at any given time, parked or standing still. That is one giant waste of resources (and space) if you ask me. A factory would never, ever be able to operate given such terms. †

I think that might be true. If I see the number of actual hours my own car is in use during a week or a month, it is extremely little considering it’s purchase value. I could totally see myself without a car right now, as long as there was a properly functioning, and regular bus-schedule to my place of work, and a bus schedule which could be predictable to last also into the nearest future.†

I think it’s about time we start to think completely new ways and radically different solutions. We (read: politicians) seem to not be able to think outside of the famous box when it comes to the transportation needs. †

Let’s say, if bus-tickets were seriously inexpencive or even free, I would personally not hesitate a single minute to relieve myself of the financial burden a car is today. Perhaps this is the solution for more people than myself, in order to save the world from total environmental destruction?†

What about something smaller than a car, something between a motorbike and a car? Fully protected from weather (Norway can be a tough place to ride motorbikes year round), reasonably priced and with alternative fuel sources.†

But then again, governments around the world - Norway included - makes a massive amount of money on cars and taxes related to cars…. would they ever be able to live without all that income? It’s not about the environment I think, it’s all about the money. It’s always about the money, even when a city mayor says it’s not about the money.†

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